March 12, 2004 |
There are a couple of unsolved problems in "Spinning Boris," a pretty good Showtime movie about Russia's 1996 presidential election and the three American "spin doctors" who were clandestinely hired to help the spectacularly low-polling Boris Yeltsin. Just how much these Pete Wilson campaign vets actually had to do with Yeltsin's eventual victory -- sorry to give away the ending -- remains debatable, the subject of ongoing claim and counterclaim.
November 4, 2003
Re "Russian Events Leave White House Wary," Nov. 1: Granted that President Vladimir Putin's actions may affect free markets in Russia, but letting crooked executives of Enron and WorldCom, etc., go unpunished also leaves free markets all over the world in disarray. It would be appropriate for the White House to move these executives into hard labor camps and out of their multimillion-dollar homes, promptly. B.V. Bhimani Winnetka The Russian government freezes some assets of a corporation and prosecutes and jails its executive for fraud before it sells its assets and distributes the dividends -- applying proven Stalinist preventive principles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 17, 2000
Our hearts go out to the men trapped in a Russian sub at the bottom of the sea (Aug. 15). But then we ask, "Why do we still have nuclear submarines?" They actually decrease our national security. In January 1995 Russian radar picked up a scientific missile over Norway. The Russians concluded that it had been launched by an American submarine and handed Boris Yeltsin the black box to launch the counterattack. Yeltsin had minutes to act or lose his missiles (launch on warning). In those few minutes they concluded that the missile was not headed in their direction.
May 14, 2000 |
"There is nothing more difficult to plan or more uncertain of success or more dangerous to carry out than an attempt to introduce new institutions," Niccolo Machiavelli advised his prince in the early 16th century. Boris Yeltsin seems to have understood the difficulty, because he wrote shortly after becoming president of Russia that "[n]ot a single reform effort in Russia has ever been completed."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2000
Re "Putin Rolls to Victory, Avoiding a Runoff," March 27: There was no way ex-KGB spy Vladimir V. Putin was going to lose or even face a runoff. Anyone who believes that Putin will weed out the Russian Mafia that is so deeply entrenched in the economy will probably be interested in some Florida swampland. This country has not been able to rid our society of certain Mafia interests (gambling, drugs, prostitution) in 50 years. Putin is far from being stupid, and he knows that if he were to go after the Russian Mafia, he would not be alive to celebrate his next birthday.
January 1, 2000 |
Boris N. Yeltsin was Russia's first democratically elected president. That much is indisputable. Under his leadership, communism was dismantled and the country set out to build a new economic and political system. That is also indisputable. But Russia's future remains cloudy, and so does Yeltsin's legacy. Since earning reelection in 1996, Yeltsin has been obsessed with how he will go down in history.